Saturday, October 2, 2021

Sourdough Starter Ready to use in 3-7 Days

The traditional way to create a starter can take a few weeks to a month to have a usable culture. Some science-minded bakers have figured out a way to accelerate the process to have a viable and very beautiful tasting culture in just 3-7 days. Using heat and hydration it’s possible to speed up the fermentation to get through the “bad bacteria” phase in just 48 hours, leaving you a usable culture on the third day with some luck. I created my starter on a Tuesday and I baked with it on that Friday with great results.

I first came across this method in a post on The Fresh Loaf by the contributor Ars Pistorica, AKA Ian Lowe of Apiece Bakery in Tasmania. I’ve been using this method ever since I first read about it in 2013. He uses whole wheat and/or rye. It’s not the only way to accelerate the first stages of creating a starter, but this is how I’ve adapted this method to various gluten-free grains.

Use whole grain, freshly milled flour if possible. The method can be used for almost any kind of flour, including roots like potato or cassava flour (though I haven't tested this). Teff is the absolute best, but it’s expensive so I usually use sorghum. I tried millet for the first time this time around and it turned out amazing to my surprise.

You need some way to keep the culture at a consistent temperature for 24 hours at a time. I use a seedling heat mat, but a yogurt machine or a large insulated jug or cooler filled with water at the correct temperature also works.

Step 1
In a plastic gallon bag or in a large silicone bag mix:
50g flour
100g spring water

Lay these directly on the seedling mat or immerse in warm water and keep heated to a constant temperature for 24 hours.

Step 2:
The culture may smell anywhere from mildly funky to really, really bad. This is normal.
Add to the bag and mix in as best you can:
50g flour

If it’s so thick it’s hard to mix, you can add about 80g spring water. I usually do this for sorghum starters.
Lay the bag on a cooling rack over the seedling mat or immerse in warm water and keep heated at a constant temperature for 24 hours.

Step 3:
Mix the contents of the bag thoroughly before extracting some for your culture. In a clean, sanitized glass jar, mix:
5g culture from step 2
50g flour
40-60g spring water

Keep at a consistent temperature for 24 hours. Placing the jar on a cooling rack over the seedling mat is usually about right for this step.
My recommendations based on experience is:
40g water for: millet
60g water for: sorghum, teff
50g water for: most other flours or if you don’t know you can start with this and see how it goes. The mixture should have the consistency of a pancake batter.

Do not use the rest of the discard - just dispose of it. You may use the discard from step 4 onward if it smells good.

Step 4 (
and until you retire it):
5g starter from previous day’s mix
50g flour
40-60g spring water
Temp: Room temp or up to 27°c/81°f

Feed the starter by mixing in a new jar every 24 hours. You may now keep the starter at room temp if you like. You may have to adjust feeding amount based on your climate and schedule. This schedule is feeding every 24 hours at 1:10:10, but if you like feeding 1:1:1 every 12 hours you may convert it to that schedule. Don't feed less than 1:1:1 or more than 1:20:20. Starter should not peak until after 12 hours. If it is peaking sooner, reduce the amount of starter you use to inoculate.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Home-made Falafel

Falafel: the ultimate gluten-free, vegan, healthy, delicious food.  Practically a complete food unto itself with protein, carbs, and healthy fats, and vegetables all in a small delicious package.  But sadly, in the USA, they are often not made gluten-free when they so easily could be.

I was traveling in Granada, Spain a few years ago when my then-fiancĂ© and I were looking for a good, inexpensive meal that was a change from Spanish food.  We found a Lebanese restaurant and really lucked out - their falafel was gluten-free!  It turns out that falafel is usually gluten-free outside of the US.  But more than that, it was the most delicious falafel I've ever tasted.  It was kind of smooth and creamy on the inside, and very, very green as well.  The outside was the ultimate crispy crust.

Recently I decided to re-create that falafel experience.  I was partly motivated because I recently got a Delonghi Deep Fryer.  Deep frying the falafel is what gives it the super-crispy crust.  However, you can also bake or pan-fry the falafel.  Packing the falafel with flavor involves just quadrupling the amount of greens that you put in them, according to most recipes.  I also omit the baking soda that most people use, as that makes them fluffy not creamy.

Thanks to Downshiftology for the recipe inspiration!

Falafel Recipe

The night before you want to cook your falafel, soak in a bowl with plenty of water topping it:

1 cup dried chickpeas aka garbanzo beans

Note: if you must use canned chickpeas, then you must bake them.  They fall apart frying, as I learned the hard way.  The texture isn't as good, but the flavor is still great when using canned chickpeas.

An hour or more before you want to eat (leave extra time if you are baking), drain the chickpeas and rinse.  Put in a food processor with:

1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
1 serrano chile, de-seeded
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp whole or dried cumin
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

Pulse the ingredients together a few times until the garbanzo beans start breaking down and everything is blending a bit.  Add

One extra-large bunch of parsley, or two smaller bunches
One large bunch of cilantro

Pulse all the ingredients together until the garbanzo beans resemble coarse sand.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Remove the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Pre-heat your fryer or oven. Cook times vary depending on method:

Frying: 4-6 minutes per batch, but don't crowd
Baking at 400°: 20-25 minutes

With your hands or a scoop, carefully form balls of the falafel mixture, anywhere from golf-ball sized to nectarine sized.  Somewhere in between is typical, about 16 total falafels. Make patties if you are baking.

Whichever cooking method you are using, turn them over once mid-way through the cooking process.


Fry in batches of four for two minutes, then turn over and fry for another 1-2 minutes until golden brown to deep brown.

For fryers, you may want to test a single falafel to make sure it will hold together before doing a batch.  If the balls aren't holding together when you form them, or if your test falafel breaks while cooking, you can stir into the mixture:

 2-4 Tbsp chickpea flour or any all-purpose flour (optional)

I typically don't find this necessary, but sometimes my falafel split a little.  I don't mind this.


Brush generously on both sides with:

olive oil

Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes flipping once halfway through.

Remove the falafel from the fryer or oven and serve immediately while hot, or save in a 200° oven until ready to serve.

Serve with hummus, salad, tzatziki, and pita or, my favorite, gluten-free naan.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Restaurant-style Hummus Recipe

Have you ever ordered hummus at a "healthy" or "natural" restaurant and it came to the table as chunky, dry, mashed-up garbanzo beans?  What a disappointment!  This recipe will give you home-made hummus that's closer to what you would find in a Lebanese restaurant - creamy and smooth.

Thanks to for the recipe that inspired this post!

With the aid of a food processor, this recipe is really easy.  The trick is to add back plenty of the delicious liquid from the garbanzo beans.

First, open and drain, reserving the liquid:

a 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, aka chick peas

Put the garbanzo beans in the food processor along with:

About 1/4 of the reserved liquid, plus more as needed
3 Tablespoons tahini
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon (only use fresh lemon)
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

Blend the ingredients together for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  If the mixture is balling up it needs a lot more of the reserved liquid.  The mixture should look smooth and creamy like a thick yogurt.

After blending until very smooth for 5 minutes, taste the hummus and adjust ingredients as needed.  Remove to a bowl.  Serve room temperature or chilled.  You can serve it plain or top with any of the following:

Olive oil
Parsley garnish
Pine Nuts

Serve with pita wedges, crackers or chips of choice, or my favorite, Gluten-free Naan.  I've never been a fan of pitas so I have never developed a recipe for them.  Naan is much tastier!

Hummus saves well in the fridge for several days.  I don't know how long because mine never lasts more than four days!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

"Stay at Home" Recipes for a Global Pandemic

Hello Friends,

It has been a long time since I posted a recipe.  Well, here in Oregon we are under a "Stay at Home" order due to the COVID-19 crisis, and I am diligently staying at home.  I haven't gone to a restaurant or gotten delivery in weeks, and that means I'm cooking.

Below are some of the recipes I've been revisiting during the Stay at Home order.  Then, up next, I will post a few new recipes that I've been throwing in the mix to have some healthy vegetarian Mediterranean meals, including falafel, hummus, and tzatziki.

First, my fun project.  I made some Pain au Chocolate and finally got some good crumb shots!  I used the Quicker, Easier Method for the croissant dough.

I have some of the pastry dough saved to possibly make Chicken Pot Pie one night.  Chicken is a staple around here during the best of times, so it's also a great staple during a global pandemic.  I've been thinking up ways to make it a different meal each time, so followed a recipe from my new favorite YouTube channel, De Mi Rancho at tu Cocina:

I substituted miner's lettuce from my garden for the purslane she used in the original recipe.  And of course I made corn tortillas since my local grocery stores are now rationing tortillas!  Thankfully I bought a big bag of masa harina.  But if you want gluten-free flour tortillas to have it more Michoacan style like in the video, check out this recipe.

Miner's Lettuce
Over the weekend I made Tandoori Chicken and served it with my gluten-free Naan recipe.

Tonight I'm making enchiladas with the leftover sauce from the Chile Rojo chicken dish above that I'll probably doctor a bit to make it more enchilada-like.  I'll have to post the recipe!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Chile Relleno Video from "De Mi Rancho a Tu Cocina"

It's been awhile!  I've been meaning to create a new blog post lately and this video inspired me.  Chile Relleno is one of the few dishes that I can't enjoy when I'm in Mexico because it has a little bit of flour in it.  I make it at home by subbing out the flour for white rice flour.  This video shows a slightly different technique than I have in my recipe, and it also answers the question I've always had about what exactly is in the sauce.  Please enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Croissants, the Quick-er, Easy-er Way

The Julia Childs croissant recipe takes 24 hours.  I don't want to brag here, but my new croissant recipe only takes six!  Croissants aren't easy, but I've taken the tricky bits out.  These crescent rolls are even better than if you took an extra18 hours to make them.

The traditional method of making croissants calls for a laborious task called "laminating" that takes up lots of time and labor.  This recipe uses a technique typically seen in other types of pastries and biscuits - cutting in the butter.  This is much faster than laminating and doesn't take much in the way of technique.  So never fear, you do not need to get a degree from the Cordon Bleu to make these tasty pastries!

Croissant Recipe, Quicker and Easier

Mix time:10 minutes
Chill time: 60 minutes
Rolling/shaping time: 30 minutes
Rise time: 3-4 hours
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8-12 croissants

In a food processor, or in a medium mixing bowl, blend together:

12g (2 TBSP) Ground psyllium husk (note: this is more than typical)
1/2 tsp Yeast
12g (1 TBSP) Sugar
1/4 tsp (2g) Salt

Cut into pic4-5 pieces and put into the blender:

140g (5 oz) very cold European-style cultured butter

Pulse the butter into the flour (or cut it in with two knives) until the biggest pieces are about 1/2 inch across.  Add all at once:

225g (Scant 1 Cup) Ice-cold water
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Pulse or stir the dough just until it seems evenly wet all over.  Do not over-blend or knead, as this will break the butter up too much.  The dough will be extremely sticky and wet.  Don't worry - it will firm up.  If using a food processor, carefully remove the dough onto plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper.  Wrap and refrigerate.  If you mixed by hand simply cover the bowl.  Refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Note: I use water in this recipe because it works better with the psyllium husk binder, which doesn't absorb milk well.  Traditionally croissants have milk and cream but the extra fats don't work as well in this gf recipe.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator after it has chilled and make a patty of it on a piece of floured parchment paper or wax paper (I use white rice flour for dusting).  The dough will have three turns or folds - two letter folds and a book fold.  Hopefully you will be able to do all of these at one go, but if the butter looks shiny or melted at any point just pop it back in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill it.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about twice as long as it is wide.  Brush off any excess flour with a pastry brush.  The dough will have butter chunks in it like this:

A letter fold is folded like a business letter.  Fold the dough in a tri-fold.

Roll the dough out again and do a second letter fold.  Roll it out again and do a book fold.

A book fold is a double fold, also called a wallet fold.  Cut the rough edges off both ends.  You fold the sides in toward the center, leaving a gap between.  Then you fold the two sides together like a wallet.

This gives you a very neat final packet.  Turn the dough so you are rolling it out toward the open ends.  Roll out one more time until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.  Go even thinner if you can.  Try to keep the dough in as neat a rectangle as possible while rolling out.

Cut the ends off for cleaner edges.  You can use the scraps to make little roses by spiralling them up.  Cut the dough into long rectangles, then long triangles.  Notch the wide end of the triangles and fold the dough outward at the center, then roll the triangles into crescent rolls, tucking the tail under.

Note: If you are pulling the rolled dough straight out of the fridge after storing it for a while, it may be too stiff to shape at first.  Let it warm up to room temp before shaping.

Place these onto a baking sheet and spritz with some water to keep them from drying out.  Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and let rise.  Since the dough is fresh out of the fridge, they take a really long time to rise, usually 3-4 hours at room temp.  If you can make a proofing area that's warmer than room temperature it will speed things up, but don't let the dough get warmer than 85 degrees or the butter could melt.

When the rolls look puffy all over they are ready to cook.  The outside rises faster than the inside, so make sure the middle layer of the crescents is just as puffy as the outer layer before cooking, or the inside won't cook right.  Whisk together:

1 egg white
1 Tbsp water

Brush each roll liberally with the egg mixture.  Bake at 425° for about 20 minutes, or until the croissants are deep golden brown.  Croissants are best when cooled before eating, but they are also best within the first few hours after baking.

Enjoy some gluten-free croissants!

Rustic White Bread Flour Blend

I've been using the Gluten-free Bread Flour Blend for years, but I recently developed a "whiter" flour blend that gives the bread a bit more rise, a lighter color, and a lighter crumb.  I get the most compliments on my bread made from this flour.  This flour blend is lower in whole grains and higher in starches, but it's not completely without whole grains so it has a rustic country-style look to the finished product.

This flour blend can be used interchangeably with the original Gluten-free Bread Flour Blend.

Rustic White Bread Flour Blend Recipe

Blend together thoroughly:

150g Tapioca Flour
150g Potato Starch
100g Sorghum Flour
50g Millet Flour

For a binder, mix with the liquids either:

20g ground psyllium husk

- OR-

28g whole psyllium husk

Friday, March 25, 2016

Coming Soon...

I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I thought I'd check in and let you know that I'm working on a few recipes that I'm really excited about!

  • Lemon Cookies
  • "Quick"-er "Easy"-er GF Croissants
  • Pain au Chocolat
  • Whole-grain muffins
  • New bread recipes!

So tune in on Monday for a real treat!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Dark Beer Lovers Must Try this Squash Beer

You know that one thing that you keep missing, even though there are so many great GF products out there?  For those of us who love dark beer, finding a gluten-free version that satisfies our craving for that smoky, malty, liquid goodness is our personal search for the holy grail.  While I'm not saying that my search is over, I am saying that I have found a cup that looks an awful lot like that grail.

Any dark beer lover would have already tried Green's Dubbel Dark Ale knows that it's a solid choice for GF dark beer.  However, that light fruity Belgian style is just not the same thing as a lush, malty dark beer.  Ground Breaker Brewing's Dark Ale comes a little closer to satisfying that craving.  However, this Seasonal Squash Ale is even better than the brand's Dark Ale.  Something about the squash in the recipe smooths it out and mellows the flavors.

Maybe that's because of the process.  From the Ground Breaker press release:

Ground Breaker’s one-of-a-kind seasonal is “triple-squashed.” Squash is added to the mash tun, boil kettle, and fermenter. Pumpkin seeds are toasted, crushed, and also added to the mash. The ale has a “wet-squash” addition to the fermenter which consists of squash that has been slow roasted for several days into a creamy squash butter. It is then finished with a gentle inclusion of cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted coriander to complement the squash flavors and aromas.

In spite of all the squash and spices, this brew has a smooth, subtle flavor that's well-rounded.  Because of all the squash and spices, it's a perfect accompaniment to all your holiday meals and festivities.  Dark beer lovers, this ale is a must-try.  Get some, and let me know what you think!